The parish of St John Chrysostom Orthodox Church began in September 1958, rather informally by necessity, to fulfill the needs of a community of Orthodox families who wished to hear the Divine Services served in the principal language of the country in which they lived and to teach their children about the Orthodox Faith.
For the first four years, the parish’s first priest, Fr Joseph Kreta, celebrated services in the homes of parishioners, in a rented storefront on Roosevelt Ave and in the old church builing belonging to St Paul’s Episcopal Church in Woodside, through the kindness of their pastor, the Rev. Daniel C Brown.
During this period there was a long and painful search, both for a site on which to build a permanent church building and for the funding to purchase property, once a suitable location was found, for the parish was not firmly enough established to be eligible for a mortgage. God smiled, however, and two bankers from Maspeth Savings and Loan Association approved a mortgage, and construction began at the present site, a generous piece of property extending from 45th Ave back to 44th Ave and easily visible from Queens Blvd.
The Ground-breaking ceremony was held outdoors on May 15, 1960, officiated by His Eminence Metropolitan Andrei of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, and the present church building was blessed by His Eminence Archbishop Ireney on May 20, 1962. Buildings adjoining the church property were purchased, one to serve as the present church hall and the others to be demolished, making room for the present parking lot. A home was purchased across 69th St to become the rectory. In 1980, to mark the parish’s 25th Anniversary, renovations were begun on the interior of the church. In the 1990s the old rectory was sold and the proceeds were used to construct a three-story rectory on 44th Ave. In 1996, a new Altar table was consecrated by Archbishop Peter of New York and New Jersey.
In 1972, after serving the parish with love for forteen years, Fr Joseph Kreta was called to serve the Diocese of Alaska, and Fr Gregory Havrilak was installed, right out of St Tikhon’s Seminary, as Acting Rector on July 30, 1972 and as Rector in 1975. Fr Gregory served for twenty years, but was called in 1993 to be Director of Communications at the Chancery in Syosset, NY. After this point, the parish was blessed with a succession of very fine spiritual guides—Fr Raymond Courtney, Fr George Konyev, Fr Jacob Piruta and Fr Michael Zahirsky—until our present Rector, Fr Daniel Degyansky, came to us from St Nicholas Church in Whitestone, NY in September, 1997.
Eastern Orthodox Church
A Parish of the Orthodox Church in America